By LEAH STRATMANN
Even before the open position of director of the South Walton County Mosquito Control District (SWMCD) has been advertised, nine applicants have applied for the open position. According to Florida state law, a new director must be found within six months. The new director would have to meet all the criteria required by the state and the board decided an interim director was not needed at this time.
The applications of the nine candidates were divided into three piles of acceptable, not acceptable and possible. A couple of the candidates did not have the two years of mosquito experience required and it was not known if this experience could be gained on the job. The agency was going to check with the state on whether or not these individuals could be considered.
Board member John Magee said, “It is necessary to decide what we are looking for. Are we looking for a scientist or a public relations professional with specific knowledge of the issues?”
Bob Hudson said he preferred a candidate who could provide both things. “I don’t want a person sitting in the office. I want someone working with the employees and working with the public to educate them about what this is all about. I want someone with budget skills and organizational skills. I think we are in a crossroads about our next step. We do a good job with mosquito control, but we are not getting the word out to the public about what they can do to help,” he said.
The board is considering requirements for next year’s budget that calls for a 2-percent full time employee pay increase if such an increase can be achieved without increasing the millage rate. Employees of SWMCD have not had a raise in three years, although they were recently granted a 3-percent salary adjustment.
Leah Stratmann may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org